The festive season is a time of celebration – but it can also be a time of temptation for those looking to maintain a balanced diet.
Celebrate in a healthier way by following these five simple tips from COMO Shambhala — helping you eat well, even when you’re indulging.
SWAP THE NIBBLES
Everyone likes nibbles during the festive season, but there’s often a tendency to overindulge before the meal has even begun – particularly if you’re hungry. To take away that temptation, opt for healthier treats instead. For instance, swap a charcuterie board for a platter of sliced organic cheese, olives and fresh fruit. And instead of roasted or baked nuts, choose organic, raw ones instead. You can also cut your salt intake by ensuring your snacks are seasoned with spices and herbs instead of excess sodium.
While your recipes might contain lots of healthful ingredients, the cooking process can actually reduce the concentration and potency of many antioxidants, as well as denature beneficial enzymes. Put the nutrients back on the table by serving raw vegetable crudités and healthy dips between courses. You could also serve a mixed rainbow salad of fresh, raw produce to accompany your mains. Filling up on fresh fruit and vegetables will also help you curb your indulgence by the time you reach desert.
Drinking water is one of the best ways to prevent overconsumption. That doesn’t mean you have to stay off the alcohol – just make sure you alternate each drink with a glass of water. Not only will this help you feel fuller, stopping you from eating too much, it will also delay the onset of ‘drunkeness’. Make sure you also drink a glass or two of water (or coconut water) before bed to minimise the effects of a hangover.
Indulgent meals often consist of high-carbohydrate dishes: buttery mashes, roast potatoes, baked pastas. Such meals often cause a spike in blood sugar levels and substantially increase your calorie intake. Try and counter this by adding fibre-rich ingredients instead, helping you feel satisfied for longer. Opt for whole grain flour, for instance, instead of all-purpose flour in any baked recipes. Rather than mashed potato, consider making cauliflower mash.
Not all drinks are created equal. Alcohol, on its own, is packed with calories. By weight, it delivers more calories than carbohydrates and proteins. Other non-alcoholic drinks that we turn to at the festive season are also full of sugar-laden ingredients – like sodas, sweeteners, juices and syrups. To keep excesses in check, be mindful of the drinks you are consuming. A glass of white wine has around 140 calories. Light or pale brews such as Pilsner have somewhere between 25 and 50 per cent fewer calories than lager or stout. Distilled spirits, on the other hand – like vodka, whiskey, gin and tequila – only have around 64 calories in each 30ml serving. The mixers are often high in calories, so consider drinking your spirits with plenty of ice instead of sugary drinks.